The Baltimore Sun reported Thursdaythat a team of University of Maryland School of Medicine scientists have spent years researching and developing salt crystals harboring microbes that could act as carriers vaccines for pathogens such as Salmonella or typhoid.
The microbe, Halaorchaea, could be grown to combat a number of diseases around the world. The team leader, Shiladitya DasSarma, first targeted Salmonella after receiving a $100,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to do so.
Resulting vaccines would likely take the form of a pill, the Sun reported. The team still needs time to test vaccines.
As it grows on salt, the microbe is cheap to produce, easy to transport at room temperature and safe to ingest.
There were an estimated 27 million cases of typhoid worldwide in 2010, the Sun reported, and the microbe could greatly reduce rates of typhoid fever caused by certain strains of Salmonella.